The 1950s was a time of abundant change, groundbreaking technology, and public fear throughout society. People often question whether technology is good or bad. In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury included both of these topics. Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 includes many of the elements of the 1950s because he thought critically of the society in which he lived and this affected the theme and setting.
The war in Fahrenheit 451 is clearly indicative of the post World War II cold war and the threat of nuclear war that occurred in the 1950s. During the course of the novel it is hinted that a war is taking place or about to, although no one in the society seems to think it is important because they are all too distracted. In part 3, Burning Bright, Bradbury includes a news broadcast, “The chase continues north in the city! Police helicopters are converging on Avenue 87 and Elm Grove Park!” (Bradbury, 141) This conveys setting by showing government control in Fahrenheit 451’s society. The government wants people to be focused on trivial things that trigger excitement instead of the nuclear war that’s about to hit. Throughout the novel many characters’ husbands have gone to war to fight and the wives say they will remarry if they are widowed. This contrasts to Bradbury’s time where people were extremely fearful that war would come and would be devastated if their husband or loved one went off to war, meanwhile the characters in Fahrenheit 451 have no real connections to each other. The War in Fahrenheit 451 conveys the setting by showing the environment and the mindset of the people.
Additionally, Bradbury references the advances in technology occuring in the 1950s. Mildred begs Montag for a new TV wall, “When can afford to have the fourth wall installed. How long you figure before we save up and get the fourth wall torn out and a fourth wall-TV put in? It’s only two thousand dollars” (Bradbury 18). Even though they can’t afford it, Mildred and other people in his society became addicted to television and to being put into an alternate world making them blind to real life events. This shows technology’s effect on human behavior by showing how delusional and brainwashed the citizens are because of the technology included in the book. In conclusion, Bradbury uses the advancement in technology to show how it can make people selfish and detached.
Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates many characteristics of the 1950s to help develop the plot and setting of the novel. The addition of the characteristics, new technology and the cold war, help advance the plot and setting. These characteristics make us think about the value of human connection and fighting complete government control.